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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06TOKYO3318
2006-06-15 09:34:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Tokyo
Cable title:  

AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER AND CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY

Tags:   ECON  EAGR  ETRD  JA  CM 
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VZCZCXRO9836
PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #3318 1660934
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 150934Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3292
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2806
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8977
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 6754
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 9367
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 9998
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 7904
						C O N F I D E N T I A L TOKYO 003318 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

USDA FOR U/S PENN AND ELLEN TRPSTRA
USTR FOR ASUTR CUTLER
NSC FOR COLLINS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/15/2016
TAGS: ECON EAGR ETRD JA CM
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER AND CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY
DISCUSS BEEF

Classified By: Ambassador J.Thomas Schieffer, for Reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)

C O N F I D E N T I A L TOKYO 003318

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

USDA FOR U/S PENN AND ELLEN TRPSTRA
USTR FOR ASUTR CUTLER
NSC FOR COLLINS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/15/2016
TAGS: ECON EAGR ETRD JA CM
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR SCHIEFFER AND CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY
DISCUSS BEEF

Classified By: Ambassador J.Thomas Schieffer, for Reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)


1. (C) During a June 15 meeting with Chief Cabinet Secretary
Abe, the Ambassador pressed for the formal reopening of
Japan,s market for U.S. beef prior to the Prime Minister,s
visit to Washington at the end of June. The Ambassador
explained that we were concerned that if the ban was not
lifted by the time of the visit, this issue might languish
for months. If this occurred, the Ambassador warned, it
would be extremely embarassing to the President and
destructive to our relationship. Abe offered instead a "de
facto" decision to re-open the market by the time of the
Prime Minister,s visit and said that he was confident that
Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Kawasaki would go along
with this decision, now that the Diet has passed his top
priority, a major health care reform bill. Abe insisted that
Japan could send only three teams to audit U.S. beef
facilities. End summary

2.. (C ) During a June 15 meeting, the Ambassador and Chief
Cabinet Secretary Abe discussed efforts to lift Japan,s ban
on the import of U.S. beef. Abe began by promising to work
closely with the U.S. until he saw American beef on the
tables of Japanese households. To accomplish this objective,
Abe said, it was important for the U.S and Japan to work
closely together. The Ambassador replied that BSE was a
thorny and difficult issue. We were concerned that if the
market was not reopened before the Prime Minister,s visit to
Washington, we would lose momentum and the issue would
languish for months.


3. (C ) Abe said that he understood this position. Having
said that, it was very important that the GOJ not appear to
be making a decision to reopen the beef market in response to
the upcoming meeting of the Prime Minister and the President.
As a result, Abe said, he hoped that we could make the
decision to start the process leading to the reopening of the
market. This would be a de facto decision to reopen, he
asserted. If we can make this decision then this issue will
be substantively resolved when the Prime Minister visits the
U.S, even though U.S. beef will not be physically present in
the Japanese market.


4. (C ) The Ambassador asked if Abe could provide assurance
that Japan would lift its ban on U.S. beef immediately after
the Prime Minister,s visit. Abe replied that, frankly,
there were some parts of the GOJ that remained cautious. But
Abe had personally made up his mind to make the decision to
lift the ban before the Prime Minister,s visit. The
Ambassador pointed out that was what concerned us. Minister
of Labor, Health and Welfare (MLHW) Kawasaki had made clear
that he still has reservations. We were concerned that after
the Summit, he will reassert himself and the process will be
delayed. Should that happen, it would be very embarrassing
and destructive to our relationship. Abe said that he had
talked to Kawasaki many times about the beef issue and that
he was confident that Kawasaki would go along with a said
decision to reopen the market.

5.. (C ) The Ambassador asked Abe to clarify why the GOJ
would only send three teams to audit U.S. beef facilities.
Abe stated that MLHW was short-staffed and had initially
insisted that it could only send two teams. The GOJ had then
added MAFF personnel so that three teams could be sent to the
U.S. This was the maximum number of teams that could be
sent, he said.


6. (C ) Abe said the end of the current Diet session this
week was an important factor to consider. During this
session, MLHW was responsible for an important health reform
bill. This is why MLHW Minister Kawasaki had been so
cautious on beef. If the Diet,s Health and Labor Committee
had taken up discussion on beef, this would have delayed
consideration of the health reform bill and this would have
had significant budget ramifications. Fortunately this bill
has just been passed making it easier for the GOJ to make its
"de facto" decision.
SCHIEFFER